How I Became a Writer


I was just two years old when my brother started school. While he did his homework I insisted on getting my own slate to scribble on it. When I was old enough to read I went to the library every Friday afternoon. After all, there wasn’t much else to do in my village, especially during the colder season. The library was run by my third and fourth grade teacher, Herr Kloß, who read stories to me and my friends. I loved it. Naturally, I also read books. Lots of books.

I was around 12 years old when I wrote my first novelette. It was, of course, terrible. Still, the groundwork was laid. I wanted to be an author. But how does one become an author, especially in Germany, where there are no courses or classes offered in creative writing? I had no idea how to accomplish that and decided that I wanted to travel and widen my horizons before I could write anything anyone would want to read.

And travel I did. In just a few years I traveled to 21 countries, many of them more than once. I’ve even been to countries that don’t exist anymore. From Ireland to Turkey, from the Arctic Circle to Spain’s Alhambra, from East Germany to the United States, nothing was safe from my curiosity. The memories of those trips stay with me for a lifetime and provide me with plenty of stories and insight into human character and world history.

Photo: Peng (


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